Thursday, February 6, 2014

Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts

Last Sunday instead of watching any of that Super Bowl crap, I took in the Oscar Nominated Animated and Live Action Shorts at Time and Space Limited in Hudson, NY. As I have previously stated, the sure way to win the Oscar pool at your office or viewing party is to see all the nominated short films. Quiet often, people outside the film world don't even know about these categories. At last year's party, some people actually complained when I revealed I had taken the time to do so, whining about "unfair advantage." To which I responded, "Hey, these films are open to the public. They were just shown just a few blocks away at IFC. It's not like I'm an Academy member and I have secret access to these things. You knew what you were getting into, now fork over your dollar, you big babies."

I decided to watch both programs as it was snowy and cold outside and I had no desire to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers lip-synching for the half-time show. For the Animated Shorts (which were introduced by a talking giraffe and ostrich), I would cast my vote for the Disney-Pixar piece Get a Horse. This is a delightful digital variation on the studio's early works with a black-and-white Mickey and Minnie Mouse being menaced by Peg-Leg Pete. As they careen along a country road, things get meta when the screen gets a hole punched in it and the characters leap into the movie theater, a la The Purple Rose of Cairo, and become full color. Disney did win last year with Paper Man, but I think the mammoth studio will take the award again.

The runner -up for me was Mr. Hublot, a French piece of whimsy where the titular hermit leaves his automated apartment in a mechanical Paris to rescue a robot dog. Feral was also beautiful as was the Japanese Possessions, the tale of a wandering handyman with the face of a samurai beset by ghostly objects in a haunted hut. Room on the Broom was the longest of the entries and perfectly charming. This British half-hour was made by the same team as the previously nominated The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child. Not nominated, but receiving Highly Commended status were A la Francaise, a funny French madness with chickens inhabiting the court of Versailles; The Blue Umbrella, a sickenly sweet love story between two bumbershoots; and The Missing Scarf, a philosophical dissertation narrated by George Takei with a squirrel searching for his missing muffler and dispensing wisdom to woodland creatures.


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